Categories
Audiobooks

My Favorite Audiobooks of All Time

Hello there, audiophiles! I’m Kendra, and I’ll be your new resident audiobooks enthusiast moving forward. A huge thanks to Vanessa for showing me the ropes, and I’m so excited for her as she takes the helm as Book Riot’s new Managing Editor. *confetti cannons*

As a little introduction, I’m a disabled book nerd from Appalachian Ohio and now live in the South Carolina Low Country with my Corgi, Dylan. Like I’ve mentioned in previous articles on Book Riot, because of my disability, I can’t read print anymore, so audiobooks have been my lifeline to the bookish world. I use roughly a dozen audiobook apps to keep up with my own quest to read ALL of the things!

photo of Kendra and her corgi Dylan

To help us get to know each other, I thought I’d start by sharing some of my favorite audiobooks of all time.

The Golden Compass audiobook cover

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

As a kid, I used to listen to audiobooks on my boom box like there was no tomorrow. I fell in love with the audiobook production company Full Cast Audio, which produced books from children’s authors Tamora Pierce and Bruce Coville. But my favorite book of theirs was the full-cast production of His Dark Materials Trilogy. I still listen to the series every few years and cry at the end of The Amber Spyglass every time.

Narrated by Philip Pullman and a full cast

Sabriel audiobook cover

Sabriel by Garth Nix

I’ve written a couple of times about my love of playing video games and listening to audiobooks. Sabriel inspired many of my adventures in World of Warcraft—Abhorsen is even my character’s name! Tim Curry (yes, THE Tim Curry) narrates this dark story of the Abhorsen, the title of the person tasked with hunting down necromancers throughout the Old Kingdom. Curry does a particularly excellent job voicing Mogget, a cat (sort of) who is the Abhorsen’s official companion and provides much of the book’s comedic relief.

Narrated by Tim Curry

audiobook cover image of Disability Visibility: Unabridged Selections edited by Alice Wong

Disability Visibility: Unabridged Selections edited by Alice Wong

As a disabled person, I rarely see that part of myself in books. But when I heard about Disability Visibility, I knew I had to pick it up. The essays from the writers inside were everything I’d hoped they’d be, and I felt seen in ways I never had before. Later, Alice Wong told me she wanted as many disabled people included in the project as possible, so she was delighted that Alejandra Ospina, who is also disabled, was chosen to perform the audiobook.

Narrated by Alejandra Ospina

audiobook cover image of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

As an Appalachian, I can’t help but notice that folks often have a certain memoir in mind when they think of Appalachian Literature. So when Appalachian writer Deesha Philyaw started taking the world by storm with her short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Philyaw has this way of capturing her characters on a page that is all-engrossing. The all-star audiobook narrator Janina Edwards performs the collection, making the listening experience as close to perfection as you can get.

Narrated by Janina Edwards

audiobook cover image of The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

I remember The Fifth Season not just as my first time listening to N.K. Jemisin, but also as the first time I remember adoring Robin Miles. There’s a video online where Miles and Jemisin discuss the making of the audiobook edition, and it’s this magical piece of insider perspective on what a narrator brings to the table.

Narrated by Robin Miles

Those are a few of my favorite audiobooks that I plan on listening and re-listening to until the end of time (or close to it, anyway). But now it’s time for a few new releases!

New Releases – Week of July 6th

audiobook cover image of Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson

Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson

After her incredibly successful debut You Should See Me in a Crown, Leah Johnson is back with Rise to the Sun, another young adult queer romance. Like most of the bookternet, I adored Johnson’s first novel, especially since the audiobook edition is narrated by Alaska Jackson, who became an instant favorite of mine. Jackson is back to narrate Rise to the Sun, but this time with Lexi Underwood, and the two make a fabulous team.

Narrated by Alaska Jackson and Lexi Underwood

audiobook cover image of Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Crosby

The moment I heard Adam Lazarre-White read the first line of this book, I became hooked. The novel focuses on two ex-cons whose sons are both murdered. They carry a lot with them, including their mixed emotions about their sons being gay and very much in love with each other. But their quest for justice for their sons unites them in a single cause. So buckle in. Crosby’s second novel is just as all-engrossing as his first.

Narrated by Adam Lazarre-White

audiobook cover image of Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev

Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev

Sonali Dev is back with another Jane Austen retelling, and this time she’s retelling Sense and Sensibility. The novel focuses on Yash Raje, California’s first Indian American gubernatorial candidate, who starts to spiral after witnessing his friend become a victim of a hate crime. Yash’s family turns to his sister’s best friend, India Dashwood, to help teach Yash stress management. This is a romantic comedy, so you can see where this is going, but with Sonali Dev’s storytelling, it’s sure to be quite the journey. As an added bonus, one of my favorite narrators, Soneela Nankani, performs the audiobook!

Narrated by Soneela Nankani

Over on Book Riot

7 More of the Best Audiobooks to Celebrate Disability Pride Month

From Around the Internet

Check out these Audiobook inspired recipes in AudioFile!

Here are 7 Summer Listens from Audiobook Producers

For those who love insider baseball, this article discusses how audiobook royalties work and why they may need to change


I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at kendra@readingwomenpodcast.com or say hi over on Instagram @kdwinchester. For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 07/01/21

Hola Audiophiles! Ok, for reals this time: this is my last Audiobooks newsletter! It’s been such a blast bringing you the deets on the latest and greatest in the audio universe. I thank you for all of your kind words and support of this newsletter, for putting up with my gratuitous body rolls and rolling with my Spanglish. As I take on a new role at Book Riot, I’m sad to say adios but muy excited for what comes next.

On that note, allow me to introduce you to the new Head Audiophile in Charge: Kendra Winchester! Does that name sound familiar? Perhaps you know her as the Executive Producer of Reading Women, a wonderful podcast that features books by or about women, or from Book Riot’s weekly audiobooks feature which she does so well. She is a wealth of audiobooks knowledge and her passion for the format shows. You are in such, such good hands with Kendra. Show her the same love you all showed me, ya hear?

Alright, familia. Let’s audio one last time.


New Releases – Week of June 29

publisher descriptions in quotes

audiobook cover image of This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

I have been salivating over this latest work from the author of Cinderella is Dead for months, and I somehow missed that it’s a modern take on The Secret Garden?! When Briseis’ aunt dies and leaves her a rundown mansion in rural New York, Bri and her parents leave Brooklyn behind for the summer and head to the creepy old house for some R&R. Bri hopes to use this time to hone and control her gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to full blooms with a single touch. But the sinister old house has other plans involving a very specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with super deadly botanicals that only Bri’s family can enter. So we not not only get a magical lineage, tonics and tinctures, and a mysterious queer love interest, but I’m told this book features some of the most supportive parents in contemporary YA fiction. Sold! (YA fiction)

Read by Jordan Cobb (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown, Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland)

audiobook cover image of Gearbreakers, Book 1 by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Gearbreakers, Book1 by Zoe Hana Mikuta

I’ve been hearing sooo much buzz about this one! Godolia warlords are spreading their tyrannical rule over the Badlands using giant mechanized weapons called Windups. Eris is a gearbreaker who specializes in destroying Windups from the inside, but she lands in a Godolia prison when one of her missions goes awry. That’s where she meets Sona, a Windup pilot and obviously Eris’ mortal enemy, right? Plot twist!! Sona has a secret: she actually infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within. As they join forces to take on their deadist mission yet, they grow closer as comrades, as friends, and (body roll!) maybe a lil something more. (YA science fiction)

Read by Catherine Ho (Black Water Sister by Zen Cho), Cindy Kay (These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong)

audiobook cover image of The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

This is a fictionalized version of the very real story about Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian. She was hired as a twenty-something to curate a rate collection of manuscripts, art, and books for Morgan’s library, a role in which she excelled. But she kept a secret to herself all the while: she was Black. She wasn’t born Belle da Costa Green but Belle Marion Greener, the daughter of the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. She claimed her dark skin came from her alleged Portuguese heritage when she was really African American. I wonder just how many more stories there are out there of Black Americans who had to pass as white to protect themselves, their families, and their legacy. The answer of course is many, and I hope we see more and more of those stories being told more widely. (historical fiction)

Read by personal favorite Robin Miles (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin)

audiobook cover image of Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Liberty described this one as an over-the-top thriller and a locked room mystery on wheels, so fasten your seatbelts for a Riley Sager special! This one takes place in November 1991 when college student Charlie’s best friend has been murdered by the Campus Killer. To escape the grief and guilt, she decides to go back home to Ohio, opting to share the long drive with a stranger named Josh who she met on a campus message board. It all seems fine at first, but the further they get into the drive, the more she begins to suspect that she might have hitched a ride with a killer.

Read by Savannah Gilmore – I’m not familiar with Gilmore’s work, but samples of other titles sound super crisp, clear, and great for building the tension of a thriller.

Latest Listens

audiobook cover image of Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anaparra

I’m not even close to done with this one, but I have to talk about it because I’m loving it so much (thanks to Jamie for recommending this one over and over again)! This is an adult novel that is mostly told from the point-of-view of children in the slums of India, starting off as a coming-of-age narrative and moving slowly into noir territory. Nine-year-old Jai has watched a ton of police procedural shows, so he feels pretty confident in his crime-solving skills. When a classmate goes missing, he enlists the help of schoolmates Faiz and Pari to find out whether it’s a bad djinn is responsible for the disappearance, or a really bad person.

It starts off as a somewhat of a game, but things take a dark turn when more children go missing. Frustrated by the adults and police’s refusal to take the sudden onslaught of disappearances seriously, Jai, Faiz, and Pari take it upon themselves to get to the bottom of things.

The pacing of this book is excellent, and the narration a wonderful balance: I find adults narrating children to be real bad so much of the time, but Indira Varma, Himesh Patel, and Antonio Aakeel do an excellent job with age-appropriate storytelling that doesn’t border on the super-pitchy and ridiculous.

From the Internets

at Audible: Because we read queer lit all year round: The Best LGBTQIA+ Listens by Queer Authors

at AudioFile: More Mystery Audio Gifts from Golden Voice Narrators

at Libro.fm: 3 Ways to Become a Better Reader with Audiobooks

at The Washington Post: 3 great new audiobooks for your drive, your walk, your laundry folding…

at Forbes: Self-Published Audiobooks Are The Next Great Entrepreneurial Side Hustle

Over at the Riot

Where to Find Free Audiobooks

6 of the Best Appalachian Audiobooks – written by Kendra!


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com with with all things audiobook or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the In The Club newsletter and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.
Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 06/24/21

Hola Audiophiles! So guess what: I’m a big ol’ liar. Well, not so much a liar as a person who can’t correctly read a calendar. This is my second-to-last Audiobooks newsletter, not the last like I accidentally told you it was. That’s good news though, right? Let’s get right to it!

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of June 22

publisher descriptions in quotes

audiobook cover image of What a Happy Family by Saumya Dave

What a Happy Family by Saumya Dave

The Joshis are outwardly an immigrant success story and the quintessential Indian American family. Bina is a pillar in her community, Deepak a successful psychiatrist. Their eldest daughter is following in the footsteps of her father’s career; their middle daughter is getting engaged to a longtime family friend; and their youngest son is a blessing—because all sons are! Then a family scandal cracks the veneer of perfection surrounding the Joshis; friendships unravel, a marriage is shaken, and rejections lead to overwhelming self doubt. In the midst of public humiliation, the Joshis learns that sometimes families fall apart only to come back stronger than before. (fiction)

Read by Soneela Nankani (Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev, The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey)

audiobook cover image of Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

Six beloved, best-selling, critically acclaimed authors come together in this beautiful celebration of Black teen love. Set during a New York City summer when a heatwave blankets the city in darkness, the collection is comprised of interlinked stories that are as hilarious as they are heartwarming, a testament to the light of love and the power of Black joy. (young adult, romance)

Read by an ALL STAR TEAM, are you ready for this!? Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Dion Graham, Imani Parks, Jordan Cobb, Shayna Small, A.J. Beckles, Bahni Turpin. What a lineup!

cover image of Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

This is the first book in the next installment of the historical Lady Janies series. While the first three books focused on Lady Jane Grey, the Mary books now set their sights on one of my favorite historical figures, Mary Queen of Scots. In Renaissance France, Mary is Queen of Scotland and the jewel of the French court. But also: she’s sometimes a mouse. You read that right: a mouse. When the French king meets a suspicious end, Mary and her betrothed Frances are forced on the throne. Mary will need to keep her shapeshifting identity a secret, otherwise heads might just start to roll. (young adult, historical fiction)

Read by Fiona Hardingham (Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir)

audiobook cover image of Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance by Jessamyn Stanley

Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance by Jessamyn Stanley

Jessamyn Stanley is a proudly fat, Black, queer yoga teacher whose first book Every Body Yoga got me to see a place for myself in yoga. While that book focused on the how, Yoke is about the why. “This yoga of the everyday is about finding within life’s toughest moments the same flexibility, strength, grounding energy, and core awareness found in a headstand or Tadasana or cobra pose.” Jessamyn is very real, very funny, and very no-f*cks-given on social media; I have no doubt these very personal essays on self-love, body positivity, race, sexuality, cannabis, and more will follow suit. (nonfiction, spirituality)

Read by the author

cover image of All the Water I've Seen Is Running by Elias Rodriques

All the Water I’ve Seen Is Running by Elias Rodriques

Aubrey, a self-identified “Southern cracker”, and Daniel, the mixed-race son of Jamaican immigrants, were high school classmates and friends in a North Florida town. Years after they’ve lost contact, Daniel is living in New York when he hears of Aubrey’s death. Now comfortable in his queerness, he’s left to confront his love for Aubrey. He begins a frantic search that takes him back to the place of his upbringing, tinged by racism and poverty, to find out not only what happened to Aubrey, but to find meaning in her death. (fiction, LGBTQ)

Read by Landon Woodson (Light It Up by Kekla Magoon, That Way Madness Lies by Dahlia Adler)

Latest Listens

audiobook cover image of The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

This book, I heart it so. I haven’t read Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare, but I was obsessed with The Switch last year. This next rom-com was exactly what I needed, though a little more hard-hitting than I expected it to be. Lemme give you the deets.

Addie and Dylan spent a summer falling in love under the Provence sun. Addie was a wild child working at her friend Cherry’s glamorous villa as a caretaker for the summer. Dylan was a wealthy Oxford student vacationing at that very villa, a trip he elected to make on his own when his family bailed after a big dramatic fight. From the moment Addie and Dylan locked eyes for the first time, it was game over. Twas a wild, romantic, sexy, and sun-drenched affair.

Years later, that bliss is entirely a thing of the past when the now former couple’s lives collide most comically: on their way to their friend Cherry’s wedding (you know, the one with the villa), Addie and her sister Deb are involved in a crash. Addie looks in the rear view mirror to get a look at the car behind her, and wouldn’t ya know: it’s Dylan in the driver’s seat. With one car wrecked and time a’ticking, Addie and Deb (very) begrudgingly agree to drive Dylan and his best friend Marcus to the rural Scotland wedding. Things so super smoothly and there’s absolutely no drama or awkwardness.

Obviously, I’m kidding. It’s a hot damn mess! There’s clearly all kinds of unresolved stuff between Addie and Dylan, details of which are revealed in alternating perspectives and in flashbacks to happier (then unhappier) times. It’s got some heavy stuff (trigger warnings to follow) and there’s some good commentary on the immense value of therapy. I won’t lie, I spent a LOT of time despising the Marcus character, and I think this would make a great book club read for the discussion of “what’s the difference between loyalty and just hanging onto a toxic friendship” thing, a topic with a lot of grey area when you take into account the “hurt people hurt people” thing, and that most of us don’t want to be defined by the actions of our youth. The book is also absolutely hilarious, even a little slapstick at times in an unexpected but delightful way. The side characters here add a lovely touch and I laughed out loud more than a few times.

The narration felt spot on for Addie and Dylan specifically, from the tender moments to the sensual ones and the raw expressions of hurt and betrayal. This was much heavier than I expected, but also that much more delightful when the HEA came around. It felt earned and not thrown together just for the sake of the HEA. (romance, rom-com)

(tw: sexual assault, non-graphic) 

Read by Eleanor Tomlinson (One Day in December by Josie Silver) and Josh Dylan (Saturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks)

From the Internets

at Slate: The audiobook industry is collectively squirming through the cultural debate on representation and casting (honestly, it’s about time)

at Audible: 10 “Finfluencers” You Should Know – I’m reading the book by Tiffany Aliche right now (Get Good With Money) and it is so accessible and great.

at Libro.fm: Quiz: Your Next Audiobook for Pride Month and Queer-Owned Bookstores to Support – which we of course do all year!

at AudioFile: In Conversation with Golden Voice Narrator Soneela Nankani

Over at the Riot

6 Epic Listens for Your Summer Reading List


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com with with all things audiobook or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the In The Club newsletter and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.
Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 06/17/21

Hola Audiophiles! I’m coming to you once again from (very) sunny Southern California and my two-week visit to San Diego. You already know what it is: tacos, babies, aggressive sunblock application, more tacos.

I don’t have a Latest Listen for you this week because WOW have I been busy, but I do have some news! Let’s get to the new releases first and then I’ll spill the chisme.

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of June 15

publisher descriptions in quotes

cover image of The Hellion's Waltz by Olivia Waite

The Hellion’s Waltz by Olivia Waite

Awww yeah, the conclusion to Olivia Waite’s Feminine Pursuits series is here! After losing their piano shop to a con man in London, Sophie and her family move to a new town to start anew. Sophie meets stunning beauty Madeline Crewe and immediately suspects the silk-weaver of being up to no good—no one’s that good looking without having something to hide, surely! As for Maddie, she just needs oooone more big score to finally fund the weaver’s union. The last thing she needs is a nosy piano teacher poking around in other peoples business. Only one thing left to do: seduce her into the cause. Is it time for a body roll? I think it’s time for a body roll. (romance)

Read by Morag Sims (Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price, The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley)

Phantompains by Therese Estacion

Phantompains by Therese Estacion

Familia, I have been a big ol’ slacking slacker who slacks about including poetry audiobooks this year! This one was brought to my attention and I just couldn’t look away. Author Therese Estacion survived a rare infection that almost killed her, but not without losing both her legs below the knees, several fingers, and her reproductive organs. With elements of Filipino horror and folk tales, Estacion pulls from stories of ogres, mermen, and gnomes straight from Filipino children’s nightmares and weaves them in with imaginings from the hospital room where she spent months in recovery. This promises to be a unique work of poetry and an immersive, if haunting, listening experience. (poetry)

Read by the author

audiobook cover image of The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

The follow up to The Silent Patient sorta feels like if The Secret History were a psychological thriller set in Cambridge instead of New England, but with less outright elitism and really scary rich people (this is a gross oversimplification, just trying to communicate some of the vibes and themes). Mariana is a troubled therapist grieving the loss of her husband. Her niece is a student at Cambridge, where Mariana once studied herself, and she’s bereft when her friend’s dead body is found. That friend was a member of a secret society known as The Maidens, a group of young female students who fawn over Greek tragedy professor Edward Fosca in most icky fashion. When other members of The Maidens start turning up dead, Mariana knows it’s the untouchable Fosca who’s done it. She’ll stop at nothing to prove it, and doing so will mean confronting some buried memories and unprocessed trauma. (mystery/thriller)

Read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell) and Louise Brealey (The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson)

audiobook cover image of Bath Haus by P.J. Vernon

Bath Haus by P.J. Vernon

Yeah, I’m including a second thriller because LAWD this sound like a ride! Oliver is a recovering addict who finally has everything he wanted: sobriety and stability, including his wealthy trauma surgeon partner Nathan. He knows he has no business going to a gay bath house, and even less business following a complete stranger into a private room therein. Just like that, a line is crossed, one Nathan can never ever know about. But then! Things go horribly wrong and Oliver barely escapes with his life. It’s bad, it’s very bad, and what to tell Nathan? That’s when Oliver falls back on old habits: he lies. Just in reading the description, I was saying aloud, “Nooooooo don’t do iiiiiitttt!” This sounds so thrilling and twisty. (thriller)

Read by Michael Crouch (They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera) and Daniel Henning (The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune)

cover image of Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

Can we talk about that gorgeous cover? The power! Voya has long awaited her Calling, the trial all witches must go through before they come into their powers. Then the unthinkable happens—she fails. When an ancestor offers Voya an unprecedented second chance at the Calling, the price for redemption is steep: it will mean sacrificing her first love—who she’ll have to find and fall for first—and her entire family will lose their magic if she fails once again. This is also the first in a series, can’t wait to dive in. (YA fantasy)

Read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt (Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris)

Siri, Play “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men

Gather round, audiophiles, I have something to tell you. Next week will be my final Audiobooks newsletter! I’ve so enjoyed getting to rant and rave about all things audio with you lovely people for I think a little over two years now. I’m not leaving Book Riot, just embracing growth and taking on new projects. I’ll still be around, still audiobooking, still injecting Spanglish into bookish conversations.

I can’t wait to tell you who’s taking over, more on that next week. You’re in good hands, rest assured, with this fresh voice and perspective! For now, keep on listening, and thank you for an awesome two years. It’s been swell.

From the Internets

at Audible: Casey McQuiston’s Secret Sauce in Her Unbearably Lovable Queer Rom-Coms

at AudioFile: Audiobooks on Perseverance and Renewal

hands holding a mobile phone displaying the audiobook cover image of On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed

Juneteenth is a couple of days away! To honor this historic day, Libro.fm is working with 23 Black-owned partner bookstores to give away audiobook copies of On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed, narrated by Karen Chilton (Recorded Books, Inc.). These Black-owned partner bookstores will distribute more than 1,500 copies of the audiobook to their customers! Head to https://libro.fm/juneteenth for to explore Black-owned bookstores’ Juneteenth recommendations, browse audiobooks by African-American authors, find Black narrators to listen to, and more!

Over at the Riot

On Learning to Embrace Audiobooks as a Reader

6 of the Best Fantasy Books to Listen To Again and Again

5 Grammy Award-Winning Audiobooks to Listen To

What Rioters Like to Do While Listening to Audiobooks


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com with with all things audiobook or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the In The Club newsletter and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.
Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 061021

Hola Audiophiles! I’m one week away from good tortillas, mom’s cooking, and smothering my niece and nephew with kisses, aka a week away from a visit to San Diego. Have I mentioned how thankful I am for Moderna? I can’t wait!

This was my week on All the Books, so catch me over there for some of my faves from this and last week’s new releases. Some of the titles below were discussed on the show and others are fresh additions. So many good books, and it’s supposed to be the slow season!

Ready? Let’s audio.

New Releases – Week of June 8, 2021

publisher descriptions in quotes

cover image of Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch by Rivka Galchen

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen

You may hear “witch trials” and think exclusively of Salem, but thousands upon thousands of women died as a result of witch hunts all over Europe, too. This historical novel begins in the German duchy of Württemberg in 1618 right as the plague is spreading and The Thirty Years War has begun. When illiterate widow Katharina is accused of being a witch by a deranged woman in their small town, Katharina’s scientist son must use his talents to defend his mother against the hysteria. Facing financial ruin, torture, and possible execution, Katharina tells her side of the story to her neighbor and friend Simon, a reclusive widower with dangerous secrets of his own. (historical fiction)

Read by Natasha Soudek (The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Regional Office Is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales)

cover image of The Marvelous by Claire Kann

The Marvelous by Claire Kann

Socialite Jewel Van Hanen is known for her super popular video-sharing app, Golden Rule. After a mysterious year-long hiatus from the app, she surprises everyone again when she comes back with a big announcement: she’s inviting six Golden Rule users on an all-expenses-paid getaway at her private estate and calling it the Golden Weekend. When the invitees get to Jewel’s estate, she hits them with another announcement. They’re going to play a game she’s calling The Cruelest Jewel, an elaborate escape-room style situation wherein the players must complete a series of tasks for a chance at being one of two winners of $500,000. Let the games begin! (contemporary YA)

Read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt (The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris, Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko)

cover image of The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Malini is a princess held captive in a decaying temple by her despotic, woman-hating brother. Priya is a maidservant and survivor of a temple massacre whose hiding a secret about her true nature. When Malini witnesses the terrifying magic that Priya possesses, she sees not only a woman she could love, but way to overthrow her brother. (fantasy)

Read by Shiromi Arserio (Thorn by Intisar Khanani, Unnatural Magic by C.M. Waggoner)

The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson

The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson

Danielle Henderson’s childhood was unconventional. At age 10, she was abandoned by a mom who chose her abusive, drug-addict boyfriend over her daughter, leaving Danielle to be raised by grandparents who thought their child-rearing days were far behind them. She grew up Back, weird, and uncool in a predominantly white neighborhood in upstate New York, the perfect storm of factors for an identity crisis. “Under the eye-rolling, foul-mouthed, loving tutelage of her uncompromising grandmother – and the horror movies she obsessively watched – Danielle grew into a tall, awkward, Sassy-loving teenager who wore black eyeliner as lipstick and was struggling with the aftermath of her mother’s choices.” But her grandmother also instilled in her a faith in her abilities, one she’d draw from to go on and save herself. (memoir)

Read by the author

cover image of Hola Papi: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer

Hola Papi: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer

“What if Dear Abby was a Mexican man on Grindr?” This was the question that made me snort-laugh during a recent episode of Keep It! The podcast hosts interviewed author JP Brammer, the self-described “Chicano Carrie Bradshaw” of his generation. The first time someone called him “Papi” was on the popular gay hookup app Grindr. It was maaaaybe fine at first, but it kept happening over and over and over again (and as a Latina who’s been called Mami by non-Latinx men more times than I can count, I am triggered!). The radicalized moniker and all the messiness around it became the inspiration for his wildly popular advice column, named… you guessed it, Hola Papi! This book sounds like a hilarious and moving story about JP’s experience growing up biracial and closeted in America’s heartland.

Read by the author

Latest Listens

cover image of Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

I was feeling super impatient the other day as I waited for my Libby holds to come in and started looking up available audiobooks like I sometimes do. This one from my TBR popped up and it was the perfect twisty weekend listen.

At the start of the book, Jules is living at a resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico when a strange interaction with a fellow guest leaves her rattled. That’s when we learn that Jules is in hiding, and now it seems she’s been found and must go on the run again. The book then progresses backwards with each chapter, revealing bits of her tragic childhood and eventual friendship with the rich and glamorous Imogen, who by the way has mysteriously gone missing. The further back the story goes, the more clear it becomes that we don’t really know anything about Jules or Imogen at all.

I “figured it out” pretty quickly, if that’s even the best way to describe this mystery, one of those thrilling reads that’s less about a whodunnit and more about the why. You’ll be confused for a good part of the book, but not in a bad way. Every chapter is a new revelation and a whole new batch of what-the-f*ckery. The narration by Rebecca Soler (Caraval by Stephanie Garber, The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert) was taught and tense, never giving more away than was called for in the moment. I listened this one on a hike and found my pace quickening during the especially tense parts. So fun!

If you’re looking for a mystery with a less traditional structure, complex characters, and explorations of women’s relationships and ambition, this one’s for you.

From the Internets

at Audible: Tarana Burke and Brené Brown Created ‘You Are Your Best Thing’ as a Soft Place for Black People to Land

at AudioFile: 10 Romance Listens from Golden Voice Narrator Soneela Nankani

at Libro.fm: Black Narrators You Should Be Listening To

Over at the Riot

6 More of the Best Audiobooks by Women for Caribbean Heritage Month


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com with with all things audiobook or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the In The Club newsletter and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.
Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 6/3/21

Hola Audiophiles, and happy Pride month! I’m kicking off the celebration by finally reading Casey McQuiston’s latest which just came out this week. Tell me, what books are you reading this month? While you get your answers ready, let’s talk about new books and the fantastic collection of short stories I just devoured.

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of June 1st

publisher descriptions in quotes

audiobook cover image of One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Cynical 23-year-old August has just moved to New York City with a very firm “magical love stories don’t exist” mentality. Then she meets a dazzling, edgy, and mysterious woman named Jane on the train and BOOM, instant crush. Jane soon becomes the best part of August’s day, until she discovers a pretty big problem: Jane doesn’t just look and dress like an old school punk rocker: she literally IS from the 70s. August will have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help June get back where she belongs. (romance)

Read by Natalie Naudus (The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo, a new queer retelling of Gatsby!)

audiobook cover image of The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Four years ago, Addie and Dylan fell in love under the Provence sun. He was a wealthy Oxford student vacationing at their friend Cherry’s gorgeous villa and she a wild-child working there as a caretaker for the summer. They were a perfect match…until they weren’t. Now their lives have collided most comically: on their way to Cherry’s wedding, Dylan and Addie’s cars are involved in a crash. With one car wrecked and time a’ticking, Addie and her sister Deb find themselves begrudgingly agree to drive Dylan and his best friend Marcus to the rural Scotland wedding. Things so super smoothly, right? Wrong. Hilarious! But so, so wrong. (romance, rom-com)

(tw: sexual assault, non-graphic)

Read by Eleanor Tomlinson (One Day in December by Josie Silver) and Josh Dylan (Saturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks)

audiobook cover image of Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford

Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford

Ashley C. Ford is an American writer, podcaster and educator and this is her much-anticipated memoir. “Through poverty, adolescence, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley Ford wishes she could turn to her father for hope and encouragement. There are just a few problems: he’s in prison, and she doesn’t know what he did to end up there.” Ford shares her deeply personal story with readers, exposing how isolating a childhood growing up a poor with a family fragmented by incarceration can be. This promises to be an impactful, if heartbreaking, read. (memoir)

This audiobook is read by the author and includes a bonus conversation with Clint Smith—who also has a new book out this week!

audiobook cover image of Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

It’s August 1983 in Malibu. The four Rivas siblings are the offspring of legendary singer Mick Riva. There’s Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer and the other a famed photographer; and their baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings command a Kardashian-esque fascination the world over. Nina is getting ready to throw her annual end-of-summer party; but over the course of 24 hours, all of their lives will change forever. (historical fiction)

Read by Julia Whelan (People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid)

audiobook cover image of How the World is Passed by Clint Smith

How the World is Passed by Clint Smith

Many of you may know writer and poet Clint Smith’s wonderful work from The Atlantic. This is his debut work of nonfiction, a “deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history.” He starts with his hometown of New Orleans and takes readers on a tour of moments and landmarks that tell an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping this nation. I am going to take my time with this one. (history)

Read by the author

audiobook cover image of Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

This debut is the first in a new historical mystery series set during the Harlem Renaissance, so I’m already sold. Louise is a young Black woman who works at a café by day and at Harlem’s hottest speakeasy by night. When a girl turns up dead in front of the café—the third local Black girl to turn up dead in the past few weeks—Louise is forced to confront a past she’s tried so hard to run from. When an altercation with a cop gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: she can help the police catch the killer or wind up in a jail cell. Not really much of a choice, is there? Louise will have to go toe-to-toe with a murderer bent on taking more lives, possibly her own… (mystery)

Read by Shayna Small (The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna)

Latest Listen

audiobook cover image of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

I haven’t been great about reading short stories lately and wanted to change that, so I borrowed this audiobook from Libby after no less than seven friends commended it (LOL: one of them told me to read “this amazing audiobook, I think it’s called Women Who Go to Church?). I told myself I’d listen to one story every night during my skincare routine. Theeeeen I liked it so much that I finished it in a day.

The collection of nine stories is described as exploring “the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good.” I couldn’t have put that better myself if I tried. There’s the story of two 40-year-old lifelong friends whose relationship turned sexual years ago; on New Year’s Eye 1999, the narrator suggests to her friend that they could be more than occasional lovers, but the friend stills dream of life as a “good Christian woman” and rebuffs her with horrified disgust. In another stories, two women have fled their hometown in the south to live freely and safely as a same-sex couple. But one of the women grapples with the concept of home, of family, of longing for the people and places that made you even though they may no longer be good for you. There’s another story of a teenage girl reckoning with her mother’s cold, abusive behavior and years-long affair with their pastor. She struggles to understand who or what God really is, and what it means to be a god-fearing person at all.

The stories are read with such warmth and tenderness by Janina Edwards (The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton, The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory). She puts so much heart into each narrative, like she’s reading from her own diary and not a collection of short fiction. On a personal level, I related sooo hard to the stories where characters examined their relationship with faith and religion with new eyes. I cried in my car at least twice as these fake people poured their hearts out and shared the softest parts of their conflicted souls.

This is one of the best story collections I’ve read in years and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

From the Internets

at Audible: The Best Lesbian Listens by Queer Authors

at Libro.fm: Take their quiz to get an audiobook rec for Pride!

at Publishers Weekly: According to the Audio Publishers Association, audiobook sales rose 12% in 2020.

at The Washington Post: The best audiobooks for your summer drive, sorted by length — and who’s in the car.

Over at the Riot

An Ode to Audiobooks Improving My Life – I love this post so much.

6 Audiobooks for Pride Month

AudioFile has announced the latest Golden Voices inductees. I am slow-clapping for Cassandra Campbell and Soneela Nankani!


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com with with all things audiobook or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the In The Club newsletter and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.
Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 5/27/21

Hola Audiophiles! Tis I, back again with some of the week’s new releases and a review of a book that made me laugh out loud several times. I hope all of you are finding some excellence to listen to and things to be happy about, too.

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of May 25th 

publisher descriptions in quotes

audiobook cover image of The Guncle by Steven Rowley

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

I despise the word “guncle” (it reminds me of barnacle? and knuckle?), but I love Steven Rowley and the premise of this book. Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP for short, LOL) loves his niece and nephew. But when the kids lose their mother tragically and their father is faced with a major health crisis, Patrick finds himself taking on the role of primary guardian. Having the kids round the clock, it turns out, is just a touch more demanding than having them over for weeklong visits, and his life in Palm Springs as a gay man with a stalled acting career isn’t exactly suited to the lives of two small children. As Patrick stumbles his way through this new set of responsibilities, he learns that sometimes, “even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.” (fiction)

Read by the author. I was totally expecting Michael Urie to read this since he narrated both of Rowley’s last books (Lily and the Octopus and The Editor), but I’m really digging the sample I just listened to!

audiobook cover image of Impostor Syndrome by Kathy Wang

Impostor Syndrome by Kathy Wang

Recent computer science grad Julia Lerner was living in Moscow in 2006 when she was recruited by Russia’s largest intelligence agency. Now she’s the COO of Tangerine, a giant Silicon Valley tech company, where she steadily funnels intelligence back to the motherland. When Alice, a low-level Tangerine employee, discovers a loophole in the company’s security settings during a routine performance check, she has the sneaking suspicion that Julia herself is abusing that loophole. The closer Alice gets to Julia, the more Julia questions her loyalties to Mother Russia. (fiction, spy thriller)

Read by Lauren Fortgang (Shadow and Bone and I believe all the books in the Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo, Pretty Things by Janelle Brown)

audiobook cover image of Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jairgirdar

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jairgirdar

Everyone at school likes popular, easy going Hani Khan. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they tell her she can’t be bi since she’s only dated guys. Hurt and invalidated, Hani panics and blurts out that she’s actually in a relationship with Ishu Dey, a girl (take that!) her friends absolutely hate. But that’s a lie! Overachieving Ishu is nothing like Hani, but she does think being more popular could help her become head girl and increase her chances of getting into college. She agrees to help Hani and go along with this fake relationship thing, but in a twist absolutely no one on this earth saw coming—no one I say!—they start developing real feelings for each other. (YA rom-com)

Embarrassing Confession Time: For years I thought “head boy” and “head girl” were made-up roles that only existed at Hogwarts. When I heard a kid say he’d made head boy while visiting England a few years ago, I thought to myself, “Aww, bless him.”

Read by Reena Dutt (The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga) and Shubhangi Karmakar. The sample of this is so cute, I can’t stand it!

audiobook cover image of How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole

How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole

This second Installment in the Runaway Royals series is a queer Anastasia retelling! Makeda Hicks has just lost both her job and her girlfriend, so she’s in no mood to rehash the story of her grandmother’s infamous fling with a runaway prince from Ibarania. Then the sleek and sexy investigator tasked with searching for that missing heir crashes into Makeda’s life and she finds herself singing a different tune (yep, you guessed it: insert body roll here). “When a threat to her grandmother’s livelihood pushes Makeda to agree to return to Ibarania, Bez takes her on a transatlantic adventure with a crew of lovable weirdos, a fake marriage, and one-bed hijinks on the high seas.” (romance)

Read by Karen Chilton (Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon), whom Alyssa Cole fans will recognize from the books in both the Runaway Royals and the Reluctant Royals series as well as several of her standalone romance).

Latest Listens

audiobook cover image of Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Meddelin Chan has just accidentally killed her blind date, as one does when said date gets all gross and gropey and doesn’t get that no means no so you have to taser his ass while he’s driving. Meddy’s meddlesome mother calls her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body, then the corpse accidentally ends up in a cake cooler en route to the billionaire California coast wedding that the Chan women, who run a family wedding business, are working. Things go from bad to OH SH*T worse when Meddy’s ex, the one who got away, makes a surprise appearance at the wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

I laughed so hard while listening that I had to stop applying my makeup and send a voice note to Book Riot Contributing Editor Nusrah Javed (who raved about the book on Read or Dead) to let her know what she’d done to me. The second chance romance plot line is adorable, and the “mystery” (which is obvs not a whodunnit so much as a “how are they going to fix this?!” situation) is both low-key stressful and hilarious to watch as one thing goes wrong after another. But its Meddy’s mom and aunties who steal the show, a hilarious group of Indonesian women whose love for each other is as fierce as the petty rivalries between them. As the descendant of immigrants myself, I cackled at the very relatable miscommunication that results from language barriers and stuff that just gets lost in translation, like Meddy having to explain to her mom that the guy she set her up with was not, indeed, offering to cook her dinner when he sent over a bunch of eggplant emojis, or that she had been catfished, not “goldfished.”

Risa Mei, an LA-based singer and actress fluent in Indonesian, brings every one of the women’s big personalities to life with her performance, from the aunties’ hilarious one-liners in their accented English to Meddy’s flummoxed inner dialogue. I sometimes forgot it was just one person reading all the roles!

This book was an absolute romp from start to finish. It’s a little corny and a little slapstick in the best possible way and a heartfelt love letter to the bond of family.

From the Internets

at Audible: The Sherlock Holmes Universe, Explained

at Audiofile: Celebrating the 2021 Edgar Awards on Audio and 5 Questions with Narrator Marin Ireland, who I just realized is theeee Marin Ireland. I never realized it was the actress making me cackle through Nothing to See Here and sob & swoon in equal parts through The Rules of Magic!

at Libro: May’s Bookseller-Recommended Audiobooks

In Spotify news, Storytel audiobooks will be available on Spotify later this year.

Over at the Riot

8 of the Best Audiobooks by Black Southern Writers


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com with with all things audiobook or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the In The Club newsletter and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.
Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 05/20/21

Hola Audiophiles! Happy Thursday from Migraine Central, where all the sounds are loud, the lights are bright, and a dull ache lives in the space behind your eyeballs even after the worst of the pain has faded. At least the aura and fuzzy floaters in my vision went away in time for me to put the final touches on this week’s newsletter. I thought I was about to have to send you all an audio file with some incoherent ramblings of what I thought the premises of the new releases’ plots were from memory. Phew!

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of May 18

publisher descriptions in quotes

audiobook cover image of Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Izumi Tanaka, a young Japanese American woman in a mostly white northern California town, was raised by a single mom and no idea as to her father’s identity. Then she discovers that pops is none other than the Crown Prince of Japan, making Izzy is a literal princess. She travels to Japan to meet the dad she never known and get a taste of all that glitters, but the glamorous life may not be all it’s cracked up to be. This is pitched as The Princess Diaries meets Crazy Rich Asians, and that sounds like a super fun time. (young adult)

Read by Ali Ahn (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, Claudia and Mean Janine (The Baby-Sitters Club, Book 7) by Ann M. Martin, plus all the recent BSC recordings of books told from Claudia’s perspective)

audiobook cover image of Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland

Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland

Ophelia “Ophie” Harrison learned she could see ghosts on the night her Georgia home and her father were taken from her in an act of cruelty. She and her mother have started a new life in Pittsburgh where Ophie’s mother secured her a job as a maid at Daffodil Manor, the same manor house where she works for the wealthy Caruthers family already. The manor is haunted by memories, prejudices, and wrongdoings from days gone by, not to mention the ghosts that only Ophie can see. She befriends a ghost whose life was ended suddenly and unjustly, hoping she might be able to help… but that haunted old house may hold more secrets that she realizes. (middle grade)

Read by the g.o.a.t. Bahni Turpin (The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera)

audiobooks cover image of Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

How many ways do I already love this book!? One: It’s by Alexis Hall, whose Boyfriend Material was one of my favorite audiobooks of 2020. Two: It’s a rom-com set at a baking show. Three: it’s the first in a series called Winner Bakes All. Give it to me! The titular Rosaline is a single mom who dropped out of college to raise her daughter and is now teetering on the edge of financial ruin. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way (hehe), and Rosaline gets a shot at turning things around when she lands a spot on a beloved baking show. That prize money would be life-changing, but there’s more than just the usual baking challenges to contend with; fellow contestant and shy electrician Harry Dobson makes Rosaline question everything she believes about herself, her family, and what she wants out of life. (romance, romantic-comedy)

Read by Fiona Hardingham (An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal)

audiobook cover image of Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Fifty-one-year-old twins Jeanie and Julius live in isolation with their mother, Dot, in a cottage in the English countryside, secluded and sheltered from the modernizing world all their lives. When Dot dies and their landlord takes back the cottage, the twins are hit with a harsh dose of reality as they try to navigate life on their own. Julius is torn between his loyalty to Jeanie and a desire for independence while Jeanie struggles to find a job and and home for the two of them. “And just when it seems there might be a way forward, a series of startling secrets from their mother’s past come to the surface, forcing the twins to question who they are, and everything they know of their family’s history.” (fiction)

Read by Kim Bretton – I’m unfamiliar with Bretton’s work but I was sucked in by the sample enough to include it here in spite of being an Audible exclusive. I love her cadence, the slight rasp to the lower registers of her voice, and her lovely accent, of course.

Latest Listens

audiobook cover image of The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Her

The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Her

This historical YA mystery had me hooked from start to finish! In mid-1400s Joseon, Korea, Min Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her sister went missing as children and were later found unconscious in a nearby forest next to a grizzly murder scene.Years later, their detective father has learned that 13 other girls have disappeared in that same forest—and now it’s him that’s gone missing. He traveled to their hometown on the South Korean island of Jeju to investigate and hasn’t been seen since. Min Hwani takes it upon herself to find her father and get to the bottom of these awful and mysterious disappearances, but the secrets she unburies in the process suggest the answer could lie within her own buried memories.

Some of you may just be cooler than I am, but this book kept me guessing the entire time. It casts suspicion on just about every character convincingly with lots of deftly placed red herrings, but also in examining how some crimes aren’t just the result of one act of evil. The heart of the crime explores women’s lack of bodily agency at the time and the danger that results when obsessive protection and misogyny combine. Add this to your TBL, journey to Jeju, and enjoy this suspenseful, atmospheric mystery.

Funny story: I was debating whether to read this book or If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha next, and it turns out they’re both read by Sue Jean Kim! I absolutely loved this performance. Sue Jean Kim manages the suspense and tension really wonderfully and keeps each of the characters really distinct. I can’t wait to spend time with her work again soon.

From the Internets

at Audible: Stacey Abrams Asked, What Happens ‘While Justice Sleeps’? And a Legal Thriller Was Born

at AudioFile: Chinese Folklore and Existential Questions and Celebrating the Audiobooks of the Women’s Prize for Fiction

at Libro.fm: 5 Reasons to Listen to Mysteries & Thrillers on Audio

Over at the Riot

5 Fantastic YA Audiobooks Narrated by Frankie Corzo <<< your girl came out of writing retirement to rave about one of her favorite narrators!

6 Audiobooks by Palestinian Women Writers


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com with with all things audiobook or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the In The Club newsletter and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.
Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 05/14/21

Hola Audiophiles! I’m back with what feels like an explosion of book releases this week! I included a few more than I usually do because I’m just so excited about them all, and because I’ve read several of them and loved them. Let’s get right to it!

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of May 11

publisher descriptions in quotes

audiobook cover image of Illusionary by Zoraida Cordova

Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova

Finally! The sequel to Incendiary and conclusion to the Hollow Crown duology is here! I’m about to give a spoiler for Incendiary, so stop reading now if you intend on reading it. Go! Be Gone!

For those of you who are still reading, Renata and Prince Castian are on their way back to Puerto Leones to bring justice to the kingdom. Ren is reeling from betrayal by the Whispers and unsure if she can trust Castian and his bombshell revelations (oof! that ending!), but she and ol’ princey prince embark on a dangerous mission to find the fabled Knife of Memory, kill b*tch a** King Fernando, and bring peace to the nation. (YA fantasy)

Read by Frankie Corzo (Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Incendiary)

audiobook cover image of A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

This is the third book and first full-length novel in The Dead Djinn universe, all set in an alternative, steampunk version of Cairo in 1912 (see my latest listen for more!). Special Investigator Fatma el Sha-arawi has been tasked with investigating the murder of a brotherhood dedicated to a Sudanese mystic. The murderer claims to be that very mystic, al-Jahiz, a man who disappeared decades ago after tearing a hole in the veil between the magical and mundane worlds. Together with her partner and a friend from Dead Djinn in Cairo (ehhem love interest ehhem), Fatma sets out to solve the case and uncover the truth about this self-professed prophet.

Read by Suehyla El-Attar (A Dead Djinn in Cairo)

audiobook cover image of Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

Jessamyn Teoh has just moved back to Malaysia with her parents after not having been back since she was a toddler. She’s closeted, broke, has no job, no prospects, so this homecoming isn’t exactly triumphant. When she begins to hear a voice in her head, she at first chalks it up to stress. Turns out that voice is actually her dead grandmother, who in her life was an avatar to a deity called the Black Water Sister. Ah Ma wants revenge on a business magnate who insulted the Black Water Sister, and she’s going to use Jessamyn to get that vengeance—even if it’s against her will.

Read by Catherine Ho (Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim, How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang)

audiobook cover image of We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker

We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinkser

A brain implant called a Pilot is the hot new thing taking the country by storm, going from a curiosity to a necessity to facilitate multitasking and keep up with school or work. Soon the implications are clear: you either get a Pilot or get left behind. And why wouldn’t you get one? They’re subsidized and they’re everywhere! “Those are the questions Sophie and her anti-Pilot movement rise up to answer, even if it puts them up against the Pilot’s powerful manufacturer and pits Sophie against the people she loves most.”

Read by Bernadette Dunne (We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson)

audiobook cover image of Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

In the ancient city of Bassa, Danso is a scholar on the brink of achieving a greatness that he did not ask for and doesn’t want. What he does want is to explore what lies beyond the city walls, a place the Bassai elite claim contains nothing of interest. “But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn’t exist, he’s put on a collision course with Bassa’s darkest secrets. Drawn into the city’s hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders.”

Read by Korey Jackson (Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles, Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson)

audiobook cover image of While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams

When she isn’t out there fighting for democracy, Stacey Abrams is an author! She’s published several romance novels under the name name of Selena Montgomery as well as a book on leadership and activism (Lead from the Outside). Her first legal/political thriller, set within the halls of the US Supreme Court, is about young law clerk Avery Keene. Her life is completely upended when she learns that one of the Supreme Court justices has slipped into a coma and left instructions for her to serve as his legal guardian and power of attorney. As she’s plunged into a role she never saw coming, she discovers that justice may have secretly been researching a controversial case—and “suspected a dangerously related conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington.”

Read by Adenrele Ojo (Call Your Daughter Home by by Deb Spera, Conjure Women by Afia Atakora)

Latest Listen

audiobook cover image of A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark

A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark

Like I mentioned above, The Dead Djinn universe is set in an alternative, steampunk version of Cairo in 1912. Decades earlier, it’s said that Sudanese mystic and inventor al-Jahiz shook the world when he literally drilled a hole in the veil between the magical world and the non-magical world using a mix of magic and machinery, then disappeared. Some say he still roams both the magical and non-magical realms, wreaking havoc and chaos in his wake.

Because the world is now magical, beings like Angels and Djinn exist alongside humans. Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha-arawi, the youngest woman working for the Ministry or Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities, is investigating what appears at first to be the suicide of a Djinn. The case sends her on a ride through the city’s underbelly that brings her into contact with nefarious ghouls, assassins, clockwork angels, and a sinister plot that could alter the course of time.

This is a shorty at just over an hour, but I was sucked into the story from the very beginning thanks to Suehyla El-Attar’s stellar performance. She really embodies the quirk and swagger of our investigator and gives a distinct voice to the myriad characters—both human and fantastical—packed into this fast-paced novella. El-Attar also leans into the book’s examination of gender, class, and colonialism with her delivery. Readers (listeners) won’t be able to look away from what this tiny wonder of a book has to say.

Come for the steampunk details and world building, stay for the colonialism side eye and feminist themes. This was so, so much fun.

From the Internet

at Audible: Voices of Audible: Celebrating AAPI Stories and Lives

at Audiofile: The Power of Stories of New Americans for Young Listeners

at Libro.fm: Top 20 Most Recommended Audiobooks of All Time

Over at the Riot

6 More of the Best Audiobooks for Mental Health Awareness Month


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com with with all things audiobook or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the In The Club newsletter and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.
Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 05/06/21

Hola Audiophiles! I finally got to go back to working in an office with the newly vaccinated Portland crew this week and wow, what a difference it makes to have some company! All praise and honor to science for bringing me back into close contact with these awesome people. It’s so soul-soothing to laugh with and bounce my weirdness off of them instead of sitting around talking to myself all day. Hope your May is off to a good start too!

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of May 4, 2021

publisher descriptions in quotes

audiobook cover image of Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

I have been waiting for this book for months! It’s the first in a new foodie cozy series and it’s by an author of color. To quote the great philosopher Britney Jean Spears, “gimme gimme more, gimme more, gimme gimme more.”

Lila moves back home after an awful breakup who’s then tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant, and then has to deal with her matchmaking aunties who are equal parts loving an judgy AF. Things get complicated when a notoriously nasty food critic kicks the bucket moments after a confrontation with Lila, especially since said food critic is kind of her ex.

Read by Danice Cabanela, an actress and produce known for Forget Me Nots (2019) and The Debt Collector (2018). Really digging that sample!

audiobook cover image of Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

I forgot Rivers Solomon had another book out this year! Vern is seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the religious compound where she was raised. She flees for the woods and gives birth to twins, planning to raise them far away from the clutches of the outside world. But when she’s hunted by the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes a kind of brutality that she did not know she was capable of, that she shouldn’t be capable of. “To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods.” (fiction)

Read by Karen Chilton (The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr., A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole))

audiobook cover image of Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

Valora Luck has a ticket for the Titanic and big dreams of escaping England to pursue a career as a circus performer in New York, but she’s turned away because Chinese aren’t allowed into America. She simply has to get on board if she’s going to find her twin brother Jamie and audition for an influential circus owner though, both of whom are on the ship. She finds her way on as a stowaway, so she should stay hidden and out of sight. She has only seven days to find her twin brother, perform for that circus owner, and get him to help both her and Jamie into America. (YA historical fiction)

Read by Rebecca Yeo, an actress and producer, known for work such as Six Feet Apart (2021), Dead End – Dead Man Walking (2020)

audiobook cover image of Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Ariadne, Princess of Crete, grows up in the lap of luxury. But beneath her golden palace lies the threat that is her brother, the Minotaur, the monster who demands blood sacrifice. Then Theseus arrives, and in him Ariadne sees the possibility of escape. She defies the gods in an act of betrayal against her family and country and helps the Prince of Athens slay the Minotaur. But will doing so give her the happy ending she so craves?

Circe lovers: this one’s for us! I am so excited for another exploration of the forgotten women of Greek mythology.

Read by Barrie Kreinik (Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy, Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon)

audiobook cover image of On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed

On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed

I admit the American education system failed me (and SO many others) in not teaching me about Juneteenth; it’s pretty sad to think that I only came to know about it in my twenties. “Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, Annette Gordon-Reed’s On Juneteenth provides a historian’s view of the country’s long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond.” (nonfiction, history)

Read by Karen Chilton, her second appearance on this newsletter!

Latest Listen

audiobook cover image of Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Listen to this one now! Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine is a biracial, unenrolled tribal member with dreams of studying medicine, but those dreams are put on hold when she defers enrollment to stay local and care for her mother and grandmother. Her world is rocked even further when she witnesses the murder of her best friend, a killing followed by a strings of other deaths all linked to a new lethal cocktail of meth. Daunis gets pulled into an undercover criminal investigation into the source of the meth but also pursues her own secret investigation, using her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to get to uncover buried secrets in her community. Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Ojibwe woman and decide far she’s willing to go to protect her community, not to mention how to handle her complicated feelings for the new boy in town who may have something to hide.

Isabella Star LaBlanc is a Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota stage and screen actor and her performance of this book is pitch-perfect! It would have been practically criminal to have this narrated by a non-indigeouns person and I’m glad someone had the sense to remember that. LaBlanc not only gives us just proper Anishinaabemowin pronunciations of words, names, and places, but also warm delivery of res slang and colloquialisms. The sense of place and community jumped off the page with her delivery. I hope we get to see more of her audiobook work soon!

If you’re looking to diversify your reading with books by indigenous authors, this is a fantastic, well-paced YA (bordering on New Adult) mystery that asks readers to ponder the importance of tradition and community, the attempted erasure of indigenous culture, and the politics of identity—not to mention how law enforcement ain’t always, shall we say, helpful.

TW: drug abuse, drug overdose, sexual assault (mostly off page, no graphic details)

From the Internets

at Audible: Congratulations! You’re a Grandparent. Now What?

at Audiofile: Audiobooks Celebrating All Things Gardening and 6 Mystery Audiobooks for AAPI Heritage Month

at Geek Tyrant: Dark Horse Graphic and Prose Novels Getting Audio Books with New Deal

at Libro.fm: Quiz: Your Next Audiobook for AAPI Heritage Month

Over at the Riot

7 Fiction Audiobooks for AAPI Heritage Month


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com with with all things audiobook or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the In The Club newsletter and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.
Vanessa